Lawrence superintendent indicted on embezzlement, alcohol charges

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March 9, 2010, 3:19 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Lawrence, Mass.) - Lawrence Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy has been indicted on eight counts of embezzlement, and one count of possession of alcohol in school.

Also indicted was his son Wilfredo Laboy III, and his special assistant Mark Rivera, and former mayoral candidate Israel Reyes. NECN's Josh Brogadir has the story.
Scandal in the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

A grand jury has handed up a nine count indictment against embattled school superintendent Wilfredo Laboy.

"Part of it was relief to see the 9 month process at least has come to fruition, and we can move on now. Whatever's going to happen in this now is a legal matter. And for us it's now, ok, we've got to put this aside and move forward," said Mary Lou Bergeron, acting superintendent in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

It was nine months ago that superintendent Wilfredo Laboy, was under investigation and on paid leave from the district.

Now 9 months later he has been indicted by an Essex County grand jury for embezzlement and fraud, plus having alcohol on school property.

Mary Lou Bergeron has been the acting superintendent since June† - for seven years she served as assistant superintendent under Laboy.

We asked if she had any sense that something was going on.

"I did not have any sense that any of this type of thing was happening because that was not part of the role that I functioned in," Bergeron said.

The allegations are damning and they are extensive.

The charges include electrical work allegedly done by Lawrence school district employees at Laboy's home during the school day - and graphic design work for a Salís Pizza franchise in Methuen, that Laboy owns and where his son is the manager.

His son was not there when we arrived.

We were then asked to leave.

Last year, I spoke with Dr. Laboy about a pilot plan to have same sex classes in Lawrence.

We hoped to speak with him today at his home in Methuen, but as you can see we never got the opportunity because no trespassing signs were posted.

A car came into the driveway, a woman who didn't identify herself said,

"He won't be back."

In addition to Laboy, the case involves three others
- Laboy's son, Wilfredo Laboy II, indicted on one count of perjury.
- Mark Rivera, Laboy's former special assistant, indicted on seven counts of larceny over $250
- Israel Reyes, former mayoral candidate, indicted on two counts of larceny over $250

Mayor Willy Lantigua also serves as the head of the Lawrence School Committee.

He has announced a special School Committee meeting Thursday night for a vote to suspend, followed by a vote to terminate Laboy's contract, which he thinks will be unanimous.

"I'm confident that that's what's going to happen - without any doubt," Mayor Lantigua said.

Lawrence Teachers Union President Frank McLaughlin said "the entire sad affair has needlessly distracted the city of the job of educating the poorest children in Massachusetts."

Lawrence school employees allegedly also provided technical support for Laboy's computers at his home during school hours.

They also reportedly removed trash from his house and got rid of it on Lawrence Public School property.

The four men will be arraigned this Thursday morning in Salem Superior Court.

Tags: Lawrence, Wilfredo Laboy
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